Constructing the Exotic
In my project Constructing the Exotic, I look at the ideas and structures of exoticism by photographing the theatrical reality of Eastern-raised women in the West and the unique relationship they create with the Western landscape and conventions of exoticism within the history of painting. In continuing my practice, I am interested in looking further into the political structures inherent within historical works.
Beyond the beauty of the Dutch Still-life lays the evidence of Dutch colonial power: its imports of exotic spices and goods from India. You can currently purchase any of these Indian imports, plus anything else you can find in the streets of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, or Chennai, in the “Little India” sections of various major cities of the world. This new project “Little Indian Still-lifes” will feature a mixture of contemporary and traditional items purchased in these “Little Indias,” including Bollywood videos; Indian fruits, vegetables and flowers; cloth; lamps; betel nuts; magazines; posters; books; jewelry; and cooking utensils, among other items.
The photographs will reference the lighting, compositions, and scale of the Dutch still-life tradition in order to create an aesthetic experience of near recognition while still allowing disorienting puncture points to come through. Although visually similar to the Dutch still-life, these pictures do not evidence Western colonial power but rather a reverse of power, of India settling the West.
Michael Bühler-Rose, born in New Jersey (1980), lives and works in New York. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to India, obtained his BFA (2005) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and MFA (2008) from University of Florida. He is currently a Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Michael has exhibited work at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi; Bose Pacia, New York; Brancolini Grimaldi, Florence/Rome at Art Verona and Paris Photo; as well as with SK Stiftung Kultur/Die Photographische Sammlung at Art Cologne. His projects have been reviewed in The New York Times, Time Out New York, AM NY, Black Book, The Times of India and Rhizome.org and featured in Camera Austria, PDN (Photo District News), and American Photo on Campus. His work is held in the Sammlung Goetz, Munich, and in the Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne.